Monday, May 30, 2005

A Touch of Class Part VI – Hometown Treasures

In my previous installments of “A Touch of Class” I’ve taken you all over the world in search of the very best in art. But let’s not overlook treasures that are closer to home (for those of us in the Twin Cities area). The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is a fine regional art museum well worth multiple visits.

The wealthy Gustave Caillebotte was an early important patron of the nascent impressionist movement. He was also a great painter in his own right, though since his wealth made it unnecessary for him to sell his paintings to make a living, his genius was slow to be recognized. The MIA features Caillebotte’s “Nude on a Couch”.

Henri Lehmann was one of the great French academic painters. He was much honored by the salon and was head of the Academie des Beaux-Arts from 1861 to 1875. It was largely Lehmann and his neoclassical style that the impressionists rebelled against. The MIA has an excellent example of his work, “Calypso” based on Homer’s Odyssey.

The institute has a small but worthy collection of surrealists including “Woman with a Mirror” by the Belgian great Paul Delvaux. “Woman with a Mirror” is very typical of Delvaux’s style.

So consider adding a little culture to your memorial weekend, or if you’re an out-of-towner, consider breaking away for a few hours the next time you visit the Mall of America.


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